This week’s prompt over at Carrot Ranch is an odd one: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a navel story. It can include a belly-button, feature an omphalos (geological or cultural), or extend to navel-gazing (used in meditation or to describe excessive self-contemplation).
For my story, I’m stretching the definition of “fiction” a bit: It’s based on my experience in a high school anatomy class. I was on a track for students considering pre-med, and part of that was going to the hospital and observing the dissection of a cadaver. What I describe in the story really happened. So let’s call it a flash memoir.
The Cadaver’s Surprise
The cadaver rests naked on the table. Her skin is ashen, her face covered with a white towel. My mind tricks me into thinking she’s breathing.
This was someone’s mother, someone’s grandmother. Now she lies here, pre-dissected for us, the potential medical students of tomorrow.
“Know what I wondered before I studied anatomy?” the teacher asks.
We stand in respectful silence.
“I wondered what the back of a belly button looks like.” With that, she lifts the skin covering the abdomen, revealing the dark side of the navel.
I bet the dead woman never thought anyone would look there.